Chinese refined tin production in November increased by 20% from October to 15,393t, while tin-in-concentrate production increased by 47% to 8,591t, according to data from China nonferrous metals association (CNIA). Steady and rising prices in November stimulated the increase in production. However, cumulative refined tin production in January-November was 131,511t, down by 3% compared to the same period of 2011. The real decline in total tin metal output has been greater, if allowance is made for lower unreported secondary refined tin production.
Similar considerations apply to mine production. Although officially reported tin-in-concentrate production was up by 4% to 78,737t, we believe that unreported supply from small mines reduced much more. Many small mines and processors in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces were closed by government in the first half of this year because of environmental pollution, some of which are still out of action.
Latest customs data shows that China imported more than 3,000t refined tin and tin alloy in November. 83% of the total was from Indonesia and Malaysia. Although imports decreased by 30% compared to last November, it was a high volume compared to most recent months. The price differential between LME and China was not profitable for general trade in November, but it was still attractive for processing imports (metal used in products which are subsequently exported, and therefore exempt from tax). It is also possible that part of the imports were delayed deliveries from previous months. Year-to-date imports of refined tin and tin alloy have reached 29,307t in the first 11 months to November, up by 45% year-on-year.
China imported 2,724t of tin concentrates (gross weight) in November. The total imports were 29,294t in January-November, up by 21% and mainly from Myanmar and Bolivia.
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